“A Modernist, William Henry Clapp is one of the monarchs of Canadian Impressionism. Indifferent as an artist to the emotional elements implicit in everyday experience, he extolled landscapes and the human figure — specifically the nude. In painting these works, he observed the phenomena of light on the generative forces of the organic world. The body is only a detail, an iconography, subordinate to the pattern in which light and shade govern vision. Immersed in golden quietude, Clapp’s art is all the more credible because of its objective truth — an art of passive reverie that has inspired all Impressionists since Renoir who are preoccupied with light and colour to the exclusion of human issues.”A signature of his works, Clapp’s setting is diaphanous and diffused. Mauves and violets blend with rosy white to form his model’s supple flesh. The eye is attracted by the sensuous application of colour, a hazy softness that tempts and beguiles us. The artist gazes back at the viewer, catching us in our intrigue of this Andromeda, against a backdrop of deep yellow. More on William Henry Clapp…
Tag: Joe Norris
11 Works by Canadian Artists – GARTHE, LISMER, GIBBONS, PRATT, MASSON, NORRIS, WIELAND, BROWNELL, HEPPARD, RROBERTS, CLAPP, with footnotes
CHARLOTTE CORDAY, It was on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the sacking of the Bastille, 13 July 1793, that the noblewoman Charlotte Corday, knocked on Jean-Paul Marat’s door. Claiming knowledge of an escaped group of Girondins, Corday was permitted entry and recited her list of 18 offenders. In truth, Corday was a Girondin sympathizer, a member of an impoverished aristocratic family seeking to avenge the ‘wrongdoings’ of the Revolution. After Marat had finished writing down the names, he assured the lady that the ‘heads’ of the guilty would ‘fall within a fortnight.’ With her true allegiance called to task, Corday produced a kitchen knife from her corset, and slayed the politician. She would later testify during her four-day trial that she had ‘killed one man to save 100,000.’The works of Joyce Wieland are frequently lauded as emblems of patriotism and feminism. “From the beginning of her career, Joyce did not try to paint like a man, even at a time when mainly men’s work was considered authentic art. Working from the wellspring of who she was, a woman and a feminist…meant accepting an inescapable identity that modified her position in art; as a woman she was marginal even though she was the country’s leading (woman) artist by the late sixties.”In this work, Wieland re-infuses the scene, immortalized previously in a work by Jacques-Louis David, with the female voice. The viewer is compelled by the artist to reinvestigate the narrative, the moment captured, and the true hero. As Wieland inscribed: MODERÉE: To “moderate” the story, to make less extreme, the average, the commonplace.This work was executed in 1987, the year in which Wieland became the first living Canadian-woman artist to be given a career-long retrospective at the Art Gallery of Ontario (16 April-28 June 1987). More on CHARLOTTE CORDAY…
JOE NORRIS, FOUR SCHOONERS AT ANCHOR 01 Marine Painting – With Footnotes, #209
Joe Norris was born in 1924 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The family moved to Lower Prospect when Joe was seven years old. Much of his childhood was characterized by sickness, in particular pleurisy. This kept him away from school a great deal of the time. Being confined, he took up painting to keep himself occupied. Later on he worked as a fisherman and construction worker. A severe heart attack at age forty-nine forced him into early retirement. This is when he went back to painting, and through the encouragement of a visiting nurse he continued painting and eventually nailed some of his pictures to the front wall of his fish house. Through this initial display he found an outlet for his completed paintings.
Joe Norris painted seven days a week in his little yellow house he had built himself in the early 1970s. He often painted for about twelve hours solid each day. Generally he began with no preconceived idea, no drawing or sketch. He just worked at his brightly painted pictures of the world around him using several very small brushes. In addition to the pictures he also painted the occasional piece of furniture including tables, chests and mantles.
As he worked there was often a steady flow of children, neighbours, and near-by relatives going in and out of his house. Joe, a bachelor, missed the fishing life. He once said “I’d rather be fishing. I’m out in the air and stuff, and I like working… hard old life fishing.” When asked if his paintings would ever make him famous, “no” was his answer. Joe Norris died in 1996. More on Joe Norris
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